Friday, June 15, 2018

Submissions Now Open for the Premiere Stages 2019/2020 Liberty Live Commission



2019/2020 Liberty Live Commission

Premiere Stages, the professional theatre in residence at Kean University, is now accepting submissions for the 2019/2020 Liberty Live Commission, a biennial commissioning program for New Jersey playwrights in partnership with Kean’s Liberty Hall Museum. Now in its fourth incarnation, Liberty Live culminates with a professional Equity production of a new play that celebrates New Jersey history.

Past winners include Talking to Westfield by E.M. Lewis (2012), At Liberty Hall by James Christy (2013/2014), My Lord, What a Night by Deborah Brevoort (2015/2016; above) and Black Tom Island by Martin Casella (2017/2018), which will be fully produced this October. (Top: Erika LaVonn and Joel Leffert in Deborah Brevoort's My Lord, What a Night, recipient of the 2015/2016 Liberty Live Commission. Photo by Mike Peters.)

Playwrights are invited to submit proposals for new plays about New Jersey history to Premiere Stages.

  • Playwrights must be current residents of the state of New Jersey.
  • The selection panel will consider any relevant topics and has also indicated the following as being of particular interest: the history of women’s voting rights in New Jersey; Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, the first African American to cast a vote under the protection of the 15th Amendment; the demonstration by Thomas Alva Edison that an entire town could be lit with electricity in Roselle; the Underground Railroad in New Jersey, particularly the role played by Quaker and African American figures; and the questionable “treatments” inside the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, particularly under the auspices of Dr. Henry Cotton.
  • Proposals are due by September 1, 2018.
  • A shortlist of the submitted proposals will be selected as finalists and playwrights will be interviewed.
  • The winning proposal will be selected by November 30, 2018, and that playwright will be commissioned to write a play based on the submitted proposal.
  • Upon completion of the first draft, the playwright will receive a $2,000 award.
  • The winning play will be developed from November 2018 through October 2020 and will include three staged readings in October 2019 at Premiere Stages.
  • From November 2019 through October 2020, Premiere Stages will work with the playwright to continue to develop the play.
  • Premiere Stages will also forge collaborations and partnerships with organizations and groups statewide. A full Equity production will be performed at Liberty Hall Museum in October 2020.

Premiere Stages is dedicated to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages, and experience levels are encouraged to apply. There are no restrictions on casting; characters may be of any age, gender, or race. Premiere Stages serves a wide audience and is dedicated to celebrating the wide diversity that enriches New Jersey.

Submission guidelines are now available, and there is no fee to enter.  Please visit or email for full guidelines. All entries are evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals and historians in consultation with Premiere’s Producing Artistic Director, John J. Wooten, and Liberty Hall Museum’s Director of Museum Operations, William Schroh, Jr.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, Les Malamut Art Gallery, Actors’ Equity Association Foundation, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.